Cloud computing has proven incredibly popular for businesses, with worldwide spending on public cloud services set to double from $70 billion in 2015, to more than $141 million in 2019. Firms are growing increasingly dependent on this approach to IT, which allows them to handle their important data and infrastructure in a way that makes it easily accessible, opens the door for scalability and doesn’t take up expensive office floor space and storage.
Easy-to-use cloud servers are ideal for today’s fast-paced, 24/7-access digital business environment, and they’re winning over scores of companies. But not all cloud services are created equal, and the cost of maintaining private servers is becoming a bigger reason why small businesses are outsourcing more of their IT infrastructure to public cloud than ever before.
Public vs. Private Cloud
When we talk about ‘the cloud’ and its success, we are largely referring to the dominance of the public cloud: Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and other third party providers. Many businesses have turned to this marketplace rather than hosting their own private cloud servers, which require a dedicated data center and staff.
Private cloud taps into all of the advantages of the public cloud, with the additional benefit of proprietary architecture that a single business can tailor to its specific needs. As companies strive for both control and flexibility, the advantages of this model are quite desirable - but there are factors that make it less desirable for some.
These drawbacks chiefly come down to cost and complexity. For many small businesses, it’s difficult to justify the time, money and expertise needed to move forward with this option, especially when so many public cloud options are available. And as public cloud options grow increasingly secure, flexible and affordable, the arguments for private are beginning to lose a bit of their power.
As ZD Net notes, “building and maintaining a private cloud is now near-impossible for all but the very largest of organisations, so high have the barriers to entry become. In effect, such an enterprise would be putting itself in competition with the very largest cloud providers, who have a number of significant advantages tilting the balance in their favour.”
The Rise of Public Cloud
Public cloud providers have the built-in capacity and the economy of scale required to enhance and improve their systems, and they already have everything conveniently in place. They also come with the technical expertise to handle everything on behalf of a business; a big benefit for companies who don’t want to trouble themselves with the ins and outs of their IT infrastructure. Moreover, public cloud providers are quickly improving on original concerns such as security, knocking down boundaries to adoption.
As a result, public cloud adoption is increasing by the day. Cisco’s Global Cloud Index report predicts that by 2020, 68% of cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centers (up from 49% in 2015), while the remaining 32% of workloads in private cloud data centers shows a drop from 51% in 2015.
For large companies, the presence of a significant private cloud is almost always a necessity due to reliability or security reasons, along with how the cost benefits at scale start to shift toward private. But for small businesses, investing in the hardware and maintenance may simply be too much to ask.
The Future of Cloud Infrastructure
In the end, businesses will make their decision based on their bottom line, and if private cloud models really are going to rival their public counterparts, then this is the biggest hurdle to overcome. There are always going to be companies that need the guaranteed performance and security of private cloud, but unless something changes, public cloud will continue to rise in prominence and become the core source of IT infrastructure for small businesses.
This guest post was written by Chloe Marchbank